What is it about fall? I went to the farmer’s market this morning, and the air was fresh and a little damp, the market was bustling with the parents of pink-cheeked children and heaps of vegetables and fruits and baskets of fall flowers. I eyed all the produce and got a yen to cook some up… ah, if only knew how to do more than steam, boil and bake! A quart bucket of honeycrisp apples and four tomatoes (not the heirloom $5.50/lb kind, but the ordinary ones that I could grow myself if I bothered) later, I’m back at home picking through old posts for the blogs I follow and The Tipsy Baker sends me to another site where there are dozens of cookbook recommendations.
They all look great (except for that one on offal). I’m especially a sucker for books that mix recipes with reminiscence, such as Teaching Dad to Cook Flapjack.
Alas, I know myself. I have a half a dozen cookbooks already, and the only one I really use is The Joy of Cooking. It’s been around for 75 years now, and it’s the cookbook my mom had in our kitchen when I was growing up. It has very cook-able recipes. I usually recognize all the ingredients, and most recipes don’t have dozens of ingredients at 1/8 of a cup of this or a teaspoon of that. Plus it’s very handy for reminding me how to do things I don’t do very often, such as make roast beef or cook a turkey. And the baking section is full of good, basic stuff you want to eat: pumpkin bread. Date bars.
So I will sate my cookbook ferver with a copy of this month’s Cooking Light. At less than $5, I may only find one recipe I’d really want to make, but it does have interesting lifestyle-type articles and it won’t end up taking up space on my already-crowded bookshelves.
This kind of “downsizing” of desire is something Gretchen Rubin, in her book The Happiness Project, talks a bit about. It’s all about doing what really makes you happy versus what you imagine some aspirational version of you would find fulfilling. So while I imagine that I’d love to try a whole bunch of new recipes, the opportunity cost is just too great. So I’ll downsize the dream and look for a low-points version of apple crumble. Fun to make and even better to eat, accompanied by a cup of coffee, a library book and pugs.
It sounds like you want to windowshop with meals! Have you noticed how much more fulfilling windowshopping is than actually buying something? You get to imagine all the things you’ll do with the item, how much time you’ll save, how much space it’ll clear for you, how great it’ll look when completed – but since you don’t actually bring it through your doors, it doesn’t add to your project pile – and you still get the benefit of the good feeling you felt when dreaming about how it’ll better your life!
Well, thank you, Betsy! Do you have a favorite cookbook?
My name is Betsy, and I’m a cookbook junkie. Feel free to borrow one or two or twenty from me when/if the urge for a new cookbook strikes again:)